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Amidst strengthening London and UK focus on the Nordics.

For Nordic founders, London Tech Week may end up shaping the futures of their businesses.

For visitors from the Nordics and Baltics, London is also special because it’s where Tech Nordic Advocates – Northern Europe’s largest – and only pan-Nordic/Baltic tech startup ecosystem originated. The first non-UK sibling of Tech London Advocates, Tech Nordic Advocates offer the Nordic/Baltic tech startup ecosystem a unique, direct gateway to London and the UK through its successful UK Market Access Programme, partnership with London Stock Exchange and most recently appointment as UK Government Department for Business and Trade (DBT) Nordic-UK Referral partner.

Tech Nordic Advocates’ annual London Tech Week flagship event celebrates this unique Nordic/UK gateway.

This year, perhaps more than ever before, Tech Nordic Advocates are bringing a brilliant cross-section of diverse UK-ready Nordic tech innovators to the capital to forge new partnerships, raise capital and in turn, boost London/UK/International investor deal flow and Nordic/UK trade.

Once again, Tech Nordic Advocates partner, London Stock Exchange is hosting the annual event, this year on June 13th. Entitled ‘Scaling diverse Nordic tech companies internationally,’ the event features 16 diverse companies from the Nordics who have competed their way to the event by winning regional London Tech Week contests across the Nordics in Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo and Copenhagen. The local contests, held throughout May, saw the final 16 winners selected from over 80 applicants and 55 contest competitors.

20 top VCs across the Nordics and leaders from London Stock Exchange travelled to the Nordics for the local competitions eventually choosing four winners from each country for the “grand final” in London

The prize is potentially huge. London Tech Week brings the global tech ecosystem to the UK capital, and highlights the city as Europe’s undisputed tech hub, home to 103 unicorns – and, Brexit or no Brexit – with an 800% rise in VC investment over the past decade, reaching a total of $107 billion invested.*

The Tech Nordic Advocates /London Stock Exchange partnership and Nordic London Tech Week competitions underscore the potential of, and UK interest in, Nordic tech innovators as well as the partnership between the two organisations. Says Ayuna Nechaeva, Head of Europe, Primary Markets at the Stock Exchange;

“The Nordic region has always been a hub of innovation, so  it’ s  always  been  a  very interesting market for investors, not just in the  UK,  but  internationally,  too.  Our relationship  (with  Tech  Nordic  Advocates) has always been very productive. The perspectives they bring are hugely helpful to me, especially with tech startups from the Nordics and the Baltics, and I think our annual event during the month of tech week is a great addition to our suite of services.”

With last year’s 10th anniversary of London Tech Week in the rear-view mirror, Russ Shaw CBE, founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, and a keynote speaker at  Tech  Nordic  Advocates  London  Stock Exchange event, is fully focussed on this year’s event.

“TLA has been a founding partner of London Tech Week since 2014, when it first launched. It’s becoming a significant international tech event, and last year we had 30,000 attendees, 40% of whom were from overseas. Each year, it just gets stronger and stronger. The UK is the third largest tech ecosystem in the world, behind the US and China, and ahead of India. I think what that symbolises is that the UK certainly punches above its weight,” he adds.

“I highly respect those other three tech ecosystems, they’re all doing phenomenal things, but they have very large domestic markets they cater to, whereas I think London realises i t needs to build important relationships and connections globally.”

Janet Coyle CBE, Managing Director, Grow London, London & Partners, is also a keynote speaker at the event. As someone who has been involved with Tech London Advocates right from the start, she is keen to emphasise both the calibre and potential of those competing for investors this year, as well as the importance of the various partners involved.

“Collaboration and community are essential for success” she says. “We are seeing huge opportunities in the Nordics, particularly in clean tech and net zero, but also enterprise and other areas. When we work with a company, whether they’re from the Nordics or the Baltics we spend time with them to really understand what their growth plans are, and then we stay with them on that journey.”

So convinced are London & Partners of the potential in the region that they have recently put a colleague on the ground in Stockholm to leverage  the  opportunity  in  the  Nordics.

“The role is to identify tech companies who are looking to expand. We want to help them not just land in London but to grow here and thrive. We’re really in it for the long term,” says Coyle.

The message is that to do so, requires help and guidance. Tech Nordic Advocates in partnership with Tech London Advocates and organisations like London & Partners and the London Stock Exchange have a major role to play in this respect.

And it doesn’t stop in London. “For us at the London Stock Exchange, we’re trying to see if there is a new cohort of companies that might also be interested in tapping international markets via London,” says Ayuna Nechaeva.

“There are so many companies that can raise capital for both their domestic and International markets – that’s where we come in. We don’t want to take any companies away from the Nordic region – with our help, they can stay there, and they just add this international investment into their portfolio,” she says, adding that this year’s Tech Nordic Advocates London Tech Week event also gives London Stock Exchange the chance to unveil a raft of innovations they have been working on to help smooth the path for start-ups and those new to the UK.

Jeanette Carlsson, Founder & CEO, Tech Nordic Advocates says:

”We’re immensely proud of our work across the Nordics/Baltics, helping Nordic tech innovators gain access to capital and scale up opportunities in London , the UK and internationally. Raising capital in London and expanding into the UK (and other global markets) requires unique market know-how. Tech Nordic Advocates offer that know-how and a unique UK and global network, which substantially reduce time to market and scaleup. Our partnership with London Stock Exchange with its innovative range of offerings from private markets to crossover markets through to IPO, reduces time to raise capital in the UK on a scale that no other Nordic/ Baltic startup can do alone or through other routes.”

An underlying theme of the London Tech Week event is Tech Nordic Advocates and London Stock Exchange’s shared, unrelenting commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. The pan-Nordic London Tech Week competitions applied strict criteria to ensure that fundraising, UK market-ready tech companies of any gender, race and/or background gained an opportunity to compete in the contests. The 20-plus VC and London Stock Exchange judges applied the same diversity criteria to picking the winners, representing the Nordic countries in London. And so, the 16 companies pitching in London – all with sound traction and revenue in the Nordics – represent all demographics, including several traditionally under-represented groups.

It’s no secret that diversity remains a challenge in the tech sector. But at the same time, it’s vital to shine a light on the progress being made. For Janet Coyle CBE, Tech Nordic Advocates – through its successful international female tech founder AND Beyond Gender Diversity growth programmes – Tech London Advocates, Global Tech Advocates, the London Stock Exchange and all those involved at London Tech Week, taking on that challenge is  a constant struggle– but one worth fighting for

“Our partnership with the Tech Advocates has always been firmly rooted in the understanding that we focus on bringing as much diversity as possible into all the projects we do together. It’s also worth noting that we’re not just talking about  gender  diversity  but all types of diversity,” she adds. “It’s a minefield, but we’re getting there.”